This Oakland bar feels a lot like bar I might find in my hometown, minus the meth-addicts and Confederate Flag wavers. Gene's Place is a small corner bar located at the intersection of Louisa Street and York Way in the middle of South Oakland. Small probably isn't the right adjective to describe this bar; it is more like tiny. Gene's Place is carved from a house which was most likely someone's residence at some point much like many bars you find in rural America.
Inside Gene's place doesn't try to dazzle you with flashy decor or a fabulous selection of beers. Most of the beers offered here are Iron City products. I was able to speak to the owner and manager named Gene (undoubtedly where his bar got its namesake), and he informed me that almost all his patrons drink Iron City products then jokingly said that his bar was the reason why Iron City was still in business. He then convinced me to get a draft of Iron City Lite (22oz draft is reasonably priced at $2.75), and though it wasn't one of the best beers I've tasted it's nice to see a local bar supporting Pittsburgh's local breweries.
The prices at Gene's Place are pretty cheap, even for Oakland standards. Most all 22oz drafts are 2.75 and well-drinks are $2.50. Even the more expensive liquors are cheap. Johnny Walker Black Label scotch, Jameson, JD, and Patron are all priced under $5.
What I really liked about Gene's Place was the awesome selection on the Jukebox. It had a little bit of everything with hundreds of albums to choose from. They even had multiple albums from my favorite music artist Warren Zevon.
Gene's Place seemed to me to draw a cult-like following. There was a mix of local old-timers and younger college students. All of the patron's seemed to know each other and the bartender called most of them by name. In many cases bars that draw cult-followings are cold to outsiders. Not Gene's, though it was my first time there everyone, including the owner, was extremely friendly.
My only problem with this bar was the location of the dart board. First of all, I think Gene's is way too small to have a dart board located in a spot that wouldn't be in the way. It is in the middle of the bar so anyone having to use the restrooms has to dodge flying projectiles in order to piss.